By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
There are many areas of life we associate with each other, veganism with yoga, meditation and mindfulness is one of those examples. But for many, it’s not completely obvious. Why? Is it because all who practise yoga must be healthy vegans? Of course not. Is the connection between veganism and mindfulness more to do with focus, decisions and health and nutrition goals? For many, yes.
Mindful living encompasses mindful eating, which includes some degree of awareness regarding what — or who — is on your plate.
Many people practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness on a physical level. It keeps the digestive system moving, strengthens the immune system, improves blood flow and the list goes on. Meanwhile, a vegan diet is easily digestible, higher in fibre and low in sugar, with high vitamins and antioxidants and lower calories. These facts just add health benefits to yoga.
It reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and more. Yogis want a level of satisfaction and benefits from their practices. And they know yoga is only one way to do that and a vegan diet is the other side of the equation.
Yoga is all about a calm mind. But your diet has the potential to spawn the reverse effect by increasing the waves of negative thoughts in your little head. While a 60-minute yoga class may balance your head, bring you to a peaceful place of awareness, and allow you to feel more in touch with your core…your entire state of mind is able to be thrown off course should you then decide to order ‘food’ from a fast-food junk chain.
If you’ve taken yoga classes – you’ve probably connected with the chanting of Aum (the universal vibration) which teaches living creatures to come from the same belief of how humans and animals are alike. Yoga teachings highlight how all living beings live to a degree of similarity in which they consume their food in the most natural state through a raw vegan diet.
It definitely took me a while to really become aware of the strong link between veganism and all things mindfulness, but throughout my vegan journey it’s become clearer.
Where mindfulness teaches a person to be sensitive to whether our actions, values and thoughts are aligned, new vegans could learn from this. For example, a person may be against animal cruelty and exploitation but then choose to eat a highly processed meat product. This misalignment of beliefs and actions is something that mindfulness helps us pinpoint and process. Studies show that when a person is practising mindfulness with food, the person is much more likely to reach for a healthy plant-based snack than something processed, and unnatural.
Mindfulness can assist your vegan journey by helping you become more deliberate with your actions, eating more purposefully in relation to vegan values.
What’s your experience with veganism and mindfulness? Let me know.
*The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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